Miss Bala Reviews
While the movie is about the life of Laura - it is also very much about Mexico - or at least that's what we're led to believe. In the final scene some stats are shown about the absurd number of people who have been killed because of the drug trade and how much money the drug trade generates. The movie not only wants to show us what drugs have done to Laura but also what they have done to Mexicans. If the movie is to be believed Mexico is a very fearful and violent place where corruption rules the day.
This of course plays into our (my) stereo type of Mexican life. Dangerous gangs fuelled by the drug trade commit atrocities against innocent victims. Something tells me that there is something to this stereotype - but you can never forget that this is a work of fiction. Which leads us back to the movie.
When I watched this movie two things came to my mind. If Angelina Jolie had played the role of Laura I think this would have been a very different movie (obviously). But what I mean by this - is that Laura is vulnerable, her female weakness is laid bare. This movie could very well have been told in terms of revenge and the female heroine could have been portrayed as kicking male ass (that's why the comparison to Jolie) but that's not what happens in Miss Bala. Sure Laura is heroic in her way - especially in the scene where she saves her father and brother - but she's also incapable of standing up to her captors. She's a heroine, but she's a weak heroine. This makes the movie plausible, even believable.
The second thing that came to my mind was the movie Heat (the 90's movie with DeNiro and Pacino). The method in which the violence was portrayed was similar. The violence wasn't abundant, but when it was there you knew it was there. Naranjo doesn't hide anything in terms of violence but he also doesn't make it a central characteristic of the movie. Personally I admire when a movie tells it like it is without having to go to gratuitous levels of crazy. Naranjo makes you understand that the situation without revelling in the blood shed.